The Great War

from The Man Who Saw, an electronic edition

The Fighting Five

WHERE the waves are as chargers that curvet and prance,

And toss their white manes in retreat or advance,

The Lennox, the Legion, the Loyal, the Lance,

Went forth with the cruiser Undaunted.

The foe, he was brave--let us give him his dues;

For Britons they are not who basely refuse

A gallant salute to an enemy's crews

That with cowardice cannot be taunted.

But they who are brave in a cause that is ill

Have Heav'n for a foe that o'ermatches them still,

And vainly they lavish their valour and skill,

And idly their prowess is vaunted.

Their squadron, it opened like hosts that deploy,

And fain had embraced us but found us too coy,

And we sank their Destroyers that could not destroy,

And we humbled the flag that they flaunted.

Then, back as from pastime, returned without boasts

Our wonderful tars to our worshipping coasts,

O'er the sea that, from age unto age, by the ghosts

Of our fathers the Sea-Kings is haunted.